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Tea Time With Katina And Leah

by | May 17, 2024 | 0 comments



This article is about how marketing of Misty of Chicoteague became a model of a veritable marketing production master class. The book was first published in 1947 and was a perennial bestseller. It is a semi-true story  of how a boy and a girl  came to own a pony named Misty born on an island of wild ponies off the coast of Virginia. The book was an immediate bestseller with several sequels. The author Marguerite Henry produced 59 books including bestsellers for middle schoolers. She was as gifted at marketing as she was at writing, and an innovator at the art of promotion.  Henry and Misty soon hit the road and traveled to book shops and department stores all over the country. Misty even made an appearance at the 1949 American Library Association Conference in Grand Rapids, Michigan when Henry was awarded the Newbery Medal for King of the Wind. The fact that some librarians considered this scandalous made it even more appealing and got more press. Misty had a foal ten years later and Stormy Misty’s Foal also became a bestseller.  Back then children’s books weren’t marketed. Leonard S. Marcus wrote Minders of Make-Believe, a history of children’s literature. Ten years later, Theodor Giesel, AKA Doctor Seuss, emerged. WSJ “The Marketing of Misty of Chincoteague” by Lettie Teague. www.wsj.com

 The Book Industry Study Group (BISG) launched a new working group to examine the impact and potential applications of artificial intelligence (AI) within the book publishing industry in December 2023. Since then, the AI Working Group, which reports to the Workflow Committee, has endeavored to gather information on current AI use cases, identify benefits and risks, and develop best practices for responsible AI adoption within publishing. The AI Working Group has identified several key areas for AI application within publishing:

•• Editorial content creation and management: AI’s potential to enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of content generation, editing, and proofreading.

  • •• Metadata and rights management: Leveraging AI to handle complex metadata frameworks and manage rights more efficiently.
  • •• Accessibility: Using AI to improve accessibility for disabled readers.
  • •• Forecasting: Predict market trends more accurately.

Despite the promising applications, AI also introduces a set of complex challenges:

  • •• Copyright and intellectual property concerns: Questions about the legality of ingesting copyrighted material, as well as around the creation of original content using AI tools.
  • •• Data accuracy and security: The risk of inaccurate data feeding AI engines and the increased threat of cybersecurity breaches.
  • •• Ethical considerations: Issues such as the perpetuation of bias and the potential to replace publishing jobs.

To address the challenges, the AI Working Group has outlined several strategic initiatives:

  • Industry surveys and definitions: Conduct surveys to gather industry insights on current and potential AI uses, and to establish clear definitions for what AI means within the context of book publishing.
  • Best practices and standards development: Recommending best practices related to AI usage, linked to ethical guidelines, existing regulations, and laws. This includes transparency in AI-generated content and disclosure to consumers. Periodic reporting and reviews: Offering periodic reports to help the industry adapt to the rapid changes brought about by AI technologies.

The group meets every other month, with the next meeting scheduled for Wednesday, June 12 at 3PM ET. Meetings of this working group are open to both member and nonmembers. To sign up, simply update your BISG member profile or reach out to Operations Manager Brooke Horn (brooke@bisg.org).

And there’s a new AI Webinar Series as part of the AI’s working group’s exploration of AI’s impact on book publishing in partnership with BISG. The launch of a series of one-hour webinars starts this month. The aim of the series is to tackle AI and publishing topics, rather than trying to encompass all of the broad and complex issues in just a few sessions. The series is not designed as “AI for beginners,” but neither will it assume AI expertise. 

The first session on May 28, Can AI be Detected in Writing, will delve into this hot-button issue. Whether you’re in favor of AI, or concerned and perhaps opposed, what publisher doesn’t want to know if authors are using AI tools without disclosing their use? There are ethical issues in play here, and, just as importantly, copyright issues, as the US Copyright Office continues to struggle with whether AI-generated content can be protected under its auspices. To read more, please visit https://www.copyright.gov/ai/. But even if you want to detect the use of AI in work submitted by your authors, is it even possible? More than one vendor will swear that they can help you smell a rat, but several experts question whether the available technology can tackle this challenge.

The second session on June 25, Can AI Be Useful in Book Translation, addresses a very different, but perhaps even more contentious, issue. You’ve already played with Google translate. Useful, but prone to errors. Lots of errors. Are you going to trust a whole book with that? Of course there’s much more to high-end translation software than what Google offers. But even so… can you imagine handing it an entire manuscript? Is it about accuracy, or is it about being faithful to the tone and intent of the author? Can you have both? www.bisg.org


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